Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that Balochistan’s reservations regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been removed after consulting the province’s political leadership.
“I myself along with Chief Minister Baluchistan held meetings with leaders of political parties, industrialists and traders and removed their reservations on the CPEC,” the minister said.
He said that one access of CPEC was from Gwadar to Zhob which would bring progress and prosperity in the less developed areas of Balochistan. “CPEC, a project to be completed during the period from 2015 to 2030 has several energy generation projects worth $36 billion, besides many industrial zones planned along the corridor,” he added.
The minister said that all the facilities provided on eastern route of CPEC would also be available on the western route. “No cut will be made in the federal development funds allocated for Balochistan,” he assured, adding that the prime minister has provided a special grant of Rs 1 billion for Mangi Dam project in Balochistan.
The minister said that the federal government had been funding several projects to cater to water requirements of Balochistan including in the provincial capital Quetta.
The federal government through Higher Education Commission has also approved universities and educational projects for Baluchistan, he said.
Iqbal said that another two corridors from Balochistan to Central Asia through Afghanistan and from Peshawar to Central Asia via Afghanistan would also be built. “A new economic zone is being formed which includes China, Pakistan and Central Asia,” he said, adding that CPEC is a national project which would be completed with full transparency.
He said that road, energy and industrial zone projects pertaining to CPEC would be financed by China, Pakistan and Asian Development Bank. He said that the Balochistan chief minister had a progressive vision for the development of Balochistan.
In reply to a question, he said that no change was being made in the design of CPEC. Most of the power generation projects of CPEC were coal based as Thar coal reserves could meet our requirement for two centuries. The CPEC has power production projects which would generate 17,000 MW of electricity including 4,500 MW in Balochistan, he added.
He said that $4 billion were being spent on Lakho dam project in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province.
He said that Gwadar deep sea port project would have a 17 km long expressway from the port and an international airport. He said that the Kachhi canal project would be completed this year which would irrigate agricultural land in Dera Bugti and adjoining areas.
The minister was addressing a press conference along with Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri, Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party Parliamentary Leader Abdul Raheem Ziaratwal, National Party senior leader Sardar Aslam Bezinjo, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders including Prince Ali Ahmed, Tahir Mehmood and Jamal Shah well as Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Jamal Tarakai.